A "demand letter" is a formal request for the money owed you. It shows the parent that you are serious about enforcing your contract. I have talked with child care providers who have received payment after sending such a letter.
Below is a sample "demand letter." Your letter should contain these five elements:
* The dates you cared for the child
* The amount the parent owes you under your contract
* A demand for payment by a specific deadline
* A notice that you will take legal action of the parent doesn't respond by the deadline
* Your signature and the date of your signature
August 1, 20xx
On May 1, 20xx you signed a contract with me to provide child care services for your daughter Sally. The contract states that you would pay me $175 per week for care. On July 1, 20xx you informed me that you would be leaving my program. At that time you owed me $175 for the week of June 25-29th.
Our contract also states that you must give me a two-week written notice when you leave my care. You did not do so. Therefore, you also owe me $350 for the two weeks after you gave me notice on July 1st.
This letter is to notify you that you owe me $525 ($175 + $350). If you do not pay me by August 15, 20xx I will have no choice but to take legal action and sue you in small claims court. At that time I will sue you for $525, plus court costs and my expenses.
If you have any questions please contact me. If you cannot afford to pay the entire amount you owe me at once, I will accept a reasonable payment plan.
Make a copy of your "demand letter" and bring it with you if you go to court. Send your letter by certified mail so you will have proof that the parent received it.
See also my article "When a Parent Leaves Owing Money: Small Claims Court or Collection Agency?"
Image credit: turtola.edublogs.org
For more information about contracts, see my book Family Child Care Contracts and Policies.